Poem with Regrets

BY Tovah BUrstein

Every mango I’ve ever had in my life
has always been the best mango
I’ve ever had in my life.
I don’t feel the same way
about people.

When a person says to me: 
Where would I be without you?
I usually think:
Walgreens or
the Laun-dro-mat.

If the person’s my boss
I usually think:
Surfing Youtube
the fax machine.

It’s not polite to say:
life would be
no better, no worse.

If the person’s my mom,
I usually think:
Carefree or
couples’ bus tour of Tuscany.

If the person’s my boyfriend
I try not to think:
Half done with graduate school.
ten miles from your parents and financial stability.

Instead of saying this,
Do mangos swell sentimental?
I smile or squeeze
the person’s hand.
This is also how to check
for ripeness. 

Careful, once you break
the skin, it’s your mango.

If the person’s my unborn child
I think:
Safe from this world. 
existentially fucked,
but safe.

Could I love another
fruit so much? 
It matters
not to me
and still it matters even less
to mangos. 

I’ve only ever had
three mangos in my life. 
I usually fib,
plus or minus three,
depending on whether I want
to appear worldly or I want
to try some of your mango. 


Tovah reads "Poem with Regrets"

Tovah Burstein, a New Hampshire native, is currently an MFA candidate at Roosevelt University in Chicago.  During the workweek, Tovah coordinates literacy tutoring programs in Chicago Public Schools. Her work has previously appeared in MAKE, Santa Clara Review, Book Slut, and the Chicago Reader.